36-year-old Waste Collection Advisor Already Boasts Long Career in Industry

Megan Greenwalt, Freelance writer

April 24, 2020

6 Min Read

At 36-years-old, Andrea Ivanovs has been active in the waste and recycling industry since 2004 as a summer co-op student from the University of Waterloo. In 2006, she became a full-time member of the Region of Peel's waste management team, immediately after graduating. 

“Andrea is a bona fide superstar on my team as an advisor in the waste collection unit,” says Ben Shepherd, manager of waste collection for the Region of Peel, which in Ontario’s government structure is a regional, upper-tier municipality that is west of Toronto. “Over the past several years, Andrea has been responsible, as a project lead, for revamping the entire curbside waste collection system, from an operational perspective, as part of the Region of Peel's move to biweekly cart-based curbside waste collection.”

Now Ivanovs serves as the advisor of waste collection for the Region of Peel. 

“Andrea can multitask and deliver results better than anyone I have ever worked with, and I have been in the waste management industry for 30 years,” says Shepherd. “Both the quantity and quality of the work she produces on a daily basis is exceptional. Andrea is extremely well organized, thoughtful, creative, and always demonstrates great attention to detail.”

Waste360 recently sat down with Ivanovs to discuss her 40 Under 40 award for 2020 and extensive research she’s done regarding waste collection.

Waste360: What is your background in the waste and recycling industry?

Andrea Ivanovs: I started in the waste and recycling industry at the Region of Peel in 2004 through a co-op program offered by the University of Waterloo, while studying environment and resource studies. Immediately after graduating in 2007, I became a full-time member of the Region of Peel’s waste management team, gaining a lot of great experience within the waste collection, waste program planning and waste processing sectors. 

Now I specialize in waste collection operations, and I am highly involved in the development and management of waste management diversion programs and contracts, alongside great colleagues and the most supportive management team.

Waste360: Describe your role as advisor of waste collection for Region of Peel.

Andrea Ivanovs: My role of advisor of waste collection for the Region of Peel is to develop, implement and manage the curbside waste collection contracts, and provide holistic, evidence-informed recommendations related to residential waste collection services.

This is done through preparing reports for senior management and regional council related to all aspects of waste collection operations, including contractor performance, contract management practices, future contract development, industry best practices, innovation and technology.

This helps our leaders make evidence-based decisions for tactical and operational decisions on the delivery of waste collection services, with the goal of providing cost-effective, efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible services to Peel’s residents.

Waste360: What is your role as contract administrator for Region of Peel's two curbside biweekly cart-based waste collection contracts with Waste Connections and Emterra?

Andrea Ivanovs: My role as contract administrator for the Region of Peel’s two curbside biweekly cart-based waste collection contracts with Waste Connections and Emterra is to manage the contracts, ensuring that all contractual service delivery requirements are met, so that Peel’s residents receive an excellent level of waste collection services.

To do this, I work with the collection contractors to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) related to  their performance levels to help drive continuous improvement. That way we are able to monitor and address service delivery issues, always aiming to improve our operations.

Waste360: What research have you done into the waste collection industry trends?

Andrea Ivanovs: My research into waste collection industry trends has included the benefits of competitive tendering the benefits of compressed natural gas (CNG) collection vehicles, the incorporation of multiple collection zones to maximize competition (during the procurement process and during the length of the contract), and the determination of specifications into the collection contract to help the Region of Peel obtain our goals – for instance, new and emerging collection vehicle technologies. 

Also, as part of the Ontario Waste Management Association’s (OWMA) Mentor/Leadership Program, I formed part of a research team that looked into softening the effects of landfill shortages in Ontario, through maximizing waste diversion in the residential and IC&I (Industrial, Commercial & Institutional) sectors, and improving landfill approval processes.

Waste360: What was your most surprising finding?

Andrea Ivanovs: Actually, the surprise is that there is no one surprising finding to solve our ever-evolving waste management needs. It’s no surprise that everywhere you turn, you will find several solutions and innovative ways to procure and manage waste management goods and services that can meet the needs of all the parties involved. 

For example, take fleet management and automation technologies. There are suites of technology solutions offered by numerous companies that help to reduce collection costs, enhance safety, improve collection efficiencies and service performance and provide service verification. The municipality, collection service provider and customer all benefit from innovation like this.

Waste360: What has come out of that research?

Andrea Ivanovs: Thanks to the pilot projects and research done, and the resulting service level changes that were incorporated into a competitively-bid procurement document with multiple collection zones for awarding, there was a considerable collection cost savings of approximately $5.8 million compared with the previous collection contracts. 

Two new state-of-the-art CNG fuel yards and two automated CNG fleets now help to expand the network of alternate fuel stations in Canada, one of which represented the largest station in Canada, which is open to the public. That allows other CNG fleet owners and operators the convenience of refueling, helping to encourage conversion to lower-emission CNG options.

Waste360: What do you see as the future of waste collection?

Andrea Ivanovs: I see the future of waste collection continuing down the path of increased efficiencies (both operational and financial) and safety, using emerging technologies and automation. 

I also hope that the private and public sectors continue to dig for even the smallest treasures when looking for waste diversion opportunities that are not only convenient to customers to help drive their participation in diversion programs but also offer value-added, societal benefits. 

Examples could include linking our waste initiatives to social/human services programs where possible, to increase employment opportunities for those needing employment support, redirecting our reusable, salvageable and repairable “waste” items to those in need and coordinating our waste efforts with community organizations, so that proceeds support their causes or programs.

Waste360: What is your leadership style?

Andrea Ivanovs: I would describe my leadership style as a coach-and-mentor style, which I would like to give credit to my own mentors for teaching me, through leading by example.

I hope my passion, strong work ethic and commitment to the work we do motivates and inspires others to learn, do and act fiercely to get results and encourage each other to work with our hearts and minds. 

I try to always remind myself of the words of a song you may have heard: “When you get where you’re going, don’t forget, turn back around, help the next one in line. Always stay humble and kind.” 

That’s how I hope to mentor anyone I might influence around me.

Waste360: What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Andrea Ivanovs: The professional accomplishments I am most proud of are without a doubt being selected as Waste360’s 40 Under 40 in 2020 and being selected as one of the mentees for Ontario Waste Management Association’s (OWMA) first Mentor/Leadership Program in 2019.

About the Author(s)

Megan Greenwalt

Freelance writer, Waste360

Megan Greenwalt is a freelance writer based in Youngstown, Ohio, covering collection & transfer and technology for Waste360. She also is the marketing and communications advisor for a property preservation company in Valley View, Ohio, and a member of the Public Relations Society of America. Prior to her current roles, Greenwalt served as the associate editor of Waste & Recycling News for three years and as features editor for a local newspaper in Warren, Ohio, for more than five years. Greenwalt is a 2002 graduate of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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